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Is it illegal to leave an elder in car in California?

The windows were left down and a drink available. Caregiver went in to store get supplies. Mom fell asleep. Police and 911 were called when She fell asleep. Someone woke her up and she could not explain anything due to dementia. Kept over night in hospital, labs, CT scan etc! Nothing! Not dehydrated, no UTI ! Clean, etc., nonetheless less triggered an Adult Protective Services Investigation. Would like to know what the law is?
Status: Open    Oct 05, 2015 - 09:16 AM

Elder Law

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Oct 07, 2015 - 12:12 PM

It is not a crime to leave a person in a car. It can be a crime if you leave someone in a car that cannot protect themselves. A baby in a car seat cannot open a window or get out. An adult with dementia to the point that she cannot tell someone (police) why she is there or who brought her is in danger. What if she got out of the car and wondered away, walked into traffic, etc. What if something happend to you while you were in the store such as a slip and fall. You are unconcious and on the way to the hospital and mom is still in the car. It is an obvious case for an adult protective services investigation. If your mother was not removed from your care and you were not arrested it would mean you did nothing terribly wrong. Questionable but not dangerous. If I saw someone that appeared to be helpless sitting in a car whether an infant or adult I would always notifiy law enforcement. I would hate to get home and see on the news that person was injured or died because I did not call. I hope others would do the same.
To avoid this you could take someone to sit in the car with your mother, take her in with you or at least leave a note on the car that you are in the store with your mobile number on it.
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